I fully understand I'm going to come off as a real "get off my lawn" guy in this, and that's fine. I own it. But if I've said it once, I've said it a million times, and probably will a billion more -- social media has become the downfall of society, and this latest TikTok challenge is proof of it.
Devious Licks Challenge
I'll admit, the first time I saw the words "Devious Lick Challenge," I thought back to a video I saw over the weekend on either Instagram or TikTok (irony, I'm about to bash TikTok videos yet I watch them on the app -- I never said I was perfect) of some college-aged dude licking a disgustingly dirty bathroom floor. I just assumed that's what the Devious Licks Challenge was but apparently I was way off.
According to WMUR, the Devious Licks Challenge is actually challenging students to "steal or deface school property." Wait...what? Why? What reason could you possibly have for ripping soap dispensers or mirrors off the wall in a school bathroom, which is just some of the destruction that's been reported, AND ESPECIALLY TO DO IT ON VIDEO. AND THEN POST SAID VIDEO! Allow my good friend Biff Tannen to comment next:
According to Channel 8 WMTW, schools in Maine like Greely High School in Cumberland are seeing the wrath of the Devious Licks Challenge, with door plates being ripped off, vents being pulled away from the wall, and even expensive equipment like paper shredders being stolen.
WMUR mentioned that the superintendent of schools in Weare, New Hampshire sent a letter home to families that mentioned the damage done at one of the schools in that district to be around the tune of $1,000. A letter was also sent home to parents by Hanover High School, this one more of a warning, outlining that the destruction of school property is not only against school policy but could also come with financial and police consequences. Maine schools, at least Greely High, are also threatening suspension and possible police involvement.
And that's exactly what should happen. If you or I went into someone's place of business, or even our own, and destroyed, defaced, and/or vandalized property there, the cops would be called on us and odds are we'd be arrested and fined at the very least. If you want to climb on crates for clout and put it on video and try to become social media famous and get your own signature latte at a coffee chain like TikTok contributor Charli D'Amelio, that's one thing. But destroying property? I refer you back to what Biff Tannen said -- THINK.
Ice Bucket Challenge
What happened to the days of online challenges that actually did some good? Those days weren't that long ago, either. It was only 7 years ago, back in 2014, when all of us were posting videos of ourselves to social media dumping buckets full of ice water on our heads while challenging our friends to do the same. And the purpose of that? Not online clout. Not trying to look "cool" (even though that water was COLD), but to raise awareness for ALS.
And guess what happened? Not only was awareness raised about ALS, as everyone and their mother (literally, there were ice bucket challenges involving parents and even grandparents) was talking about it, but it also helped raise a significant amount of money -- $115 million for the ALS Association and more than $220 million around the world for ALS research, according to NPR.
But here we are 7 years later, more divided than ever before in the country. More impatient than ever before in the country due to understaffed businesses, which are understaffed because seemingly no one wants to work. And craving more attention than ever before, as evidenced by who knows how many people trying to go viral on TikTok and have "social media influencer" be their full-time job that gets them paid.
Videos along the lines of the Ice Bucket Challenge did, do, and bring good. But what genuine good does TikTok bring? It's okay, I'll wait for a decent answer. Maybe this should serve as a big wake-up call that it's time to take a real close look at our priorities because they've never been more out of whack than right now.